Self Selfie was a personal holiday project designed to stretch my personal writing chops using only a selfie stick and a camera I’d owned for two years and never used. Each selfie taken over the 13 days vacation was designed to reveal a little bit of the ‘self in selfie’. Click the image to go read them all.
For the 2014 S-Works Catalog we added a special element to the book after creating a theme for it: Whatever it takes. S-Works philosophy is Made in Racing, so we looked at racing from many different angles. What does it take for athletes, for engineers, for the ordinary journeyman racer, to achieve their dreams, or help others achieve theirs? Can it be distilled into a single word? I wrote two features for this book, one about Ellen Van Dijk and the intricacies of being in the moment while Time Trialing, and Dan Hughes, four time winner of the Dirty Kanza 200 gravel race and how he manages to balance life as a non-pro with endurance events.
There’s no shortage of people out there that’ll tell you you’re doing it wrong. What they really mean is you’re not doing it the way they would do it. We wanted to create a rally cry that gave women confidence and courage to ride the way they wanted. A judgement-free zone of sorts. I took this philosophy and applied it to the revised Specialized Women’s brand, creating a new rally cry: Your ride. Your rules. The below text (which also features in the road-focused ad) is the spirit behind it:
Know it all, or know nothing.
There is no test, except the one you set yourself.
No too fast or slow.
No right way or wrong.
How you rock it when you roll, that’s your business.
Is it escape? Adventure? To chase or be chased?
It doesn’t matter why – it just matters that you do. YOUR RIDE. YOUR RULES.
The structure is versatile enough to customize for any audience. The first iterations of this campaign in print have been for Road, Mountain, and Fitness audiences. I wrote the copy and directed/ran all the photo shoots with photographer Jake Orness. Click to embiggen.
The goal of this project for me was to shine a light on a the personalities of Team Specialized-lululemon (SLULU) with something that could be released on social throughout the road cycling season. The huge challenge for Women’s professional cycling is to get eyeballs on it, so we needed something that had some crossover power, showed women new to cycling the human side of the team and hopefully encouraged them to follow the team, or sign up for their first race.
I pitched the idea to the team during Team Camp, then juggled some pretty nice logistical challenges in getting time with them – it’s a training camp after all, not a ‘get assets for advertising’ camp. I shot it all myself, winged it somewhat, grabbing footage when I could nab the girls after their training rides every day. Fortunately, they didn’t end up hating me. Did all editing myself, essentially teaching myself Premiere Pro in the process.
S-Works is Made in Racing. It’s the top of the line product, the best of everything. The catalog is built to reflect that, featuring the best action photography throughout the year in all disciplines. The team worked hard to pare down imagery to give the book a premium feel, with words to match the emotion of the moments depicted and the quality of the product.
The catalog was produced in limited numbers to accentuate the exclusive feel. Copywriting duties were split between three writers.
I’ve always loved great photography mixed with audio storytelling – something that gives a viewer time to absorb the power of an image while hearing how the image came to be, or the story behind it. Overheard was born from this idea, and a chance for us to really take advantage of the great photography we get at Specialized – much of it from behind the scenes. Overheard launched with a three part series showcasing the Specialized-lululemon Team Camp. Since we’re always trying to get people outside the cycling realm interested in cycling, I decided to interview Emily Maye, the photographer, and get her to talk about why she loves cycling photography, what she’s trying to convey with through her lens, and the process itself.
UPDATE: As the series continues to grow, it will continue to showcase photography and ‘eavesdropping’ story. The mountain team has already done a few episodes, and I have done two others with Pro cyclist, Evelyn Stevens – one around her visit to Zambia for World Bicycle Relief, and another about what it felt like in those final moments to win La Fleche Wallone de Femminine.
It’s nice to get some recognition for Breakfast NY and quite frankly, for myself. Yes, I am Precious won a Silver Cube for Interactive at the ADC awards and as the copywriter, I got mah mitts on one. Read about the project here. Buy me a beer here (which would link to any pub near us both if it were linked.)
Congrats to Zolty and the team at Breakfast. And here is a gratuitous picture of Precious smelling the glove cube.
YESIAMPRECIOUS.COM was conceived by BREAKFAST NY as a way to follow Precious the bike as he traveled across the USA in 2010. They built Precious a real brain, and while I wasn’t involved in the concepting or design of the site, my job was to fill that brain with the thoughts (above) that ended up on Twitter. Actually, if you think about it, I really powered the site. Literally! With my damn legs! HA!
This project did what I think any good digital project should do for any brand – tell a rich and compelling story. I essentially wanted to tell the story of my trip through my own blog and twitter, but then have Precious give a different POV and experience of that story. BREAKFAST sure took care of that wish. At the same time, we wanted to raise some dough for LIVESTRONG along the way, and that worked out pretty well.
Brief summary of the pieces and my involvement:
The brain, inside a box that sat in a bag under the bike seat, was loaded with bunch of sensors. These sensors measured things like temperature, speed, gradient, location and heading. All of this data formed the basis for readings on the site, while certain manual things would be ‘pinged’ in by me as I saw them (roadkill is a good example). I would also upload a new photo from the road every day to keep the background fresh and the site looking awesome. If you want to know how the brain worked, there’s a case study by BREAKFAST, and I also made an ‘on the road’ video talking about how it worked and what I did every day.
When certain criteria were met – a certain temperature, a GPS position – the system would would reach deep into the brain, find a thought that matched that criteria and send it out to all Precious’s followers on Twitter. I wrote all those tweets well in advance (examples above), and created the personality of Precious (more examples here). In essence, I was the copywriter and brand manager. :)
The site provided a direct link to donate. Milestones were also set up in the system to send out donation-based tweets when certain financial goals were met, as a way to encourage followers to get involved. During the course of the ride, Precious raised over $7,500 for LIVESTRONG and also got a shoutout from Lance on Twitter. Not too shabby. (It should be noted that this was a PERSONAL project on behalf of LIVESTRONG. They didn’t have anything to do with it, beyond Lance giving it a tweet after it was live.)
THE OTHER STUFF
Precious has essentially become a brand in his own right. As part of my Kickstarter Project, I made a ‘book of Precious’ for backers. The “Yes, I am Precious” book is now available to buy for anyone who became a fan of Precious during the trip, either on Twitter or on his Facebook page. He still tweets – mostly about how I don’t take him out of the house very much.